Fools For Christ

Mark 3: 20-21
Heb 9: 2-3, 11-14 / Psa 47

When His relatives heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, ‘He is out of His mind.’
(Mark 3:21)

When for others’ sake we pay a price,
Some say we must be out of our mind;
But if we must make some sacrifice,
Let us be fools for Christ anytime.

Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his relatives heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” (Mark 3: 20-21)


Some of His relatives had come to take charge of Him because “He is out of His mind” (3:21). Not understanding His ministry, they had come to take care of Him. They did not know whom to believe: the scribes and Pharisees who were saying that the new teachings He was preaching were blasphemous, or the crowds, who were seeking Him out because of the power He possessed. They could not understand His ascetic lifestyle, becoming an itinerant preacher with a rag-tag band of disciples. But upon seeing how Jesus was even neglecting His own nourishment in ministering to the crowds, His relatives decided to take matters into their own hands for His own sake. But Jesus knew that His relatives were merely misguided in their concern for His welfare.

St. John the Baptist was the first “madman” that we find in the New Testament, a “voice crying out in the wilderness” who wore camel’s hair and lived on locusts and wild honey. Many of the saints and martyrs of the Church who followed the examples of Jesus and John the Baptist appeared to their contemporaries as having lost their minds. Most notable among them was St. Francis of Assisi, and Mother Teresa of Calcutta. St. Francis was the son of a wealthy merchant, who renounced his inheritance to embrace a life of poverty. Striving to become “the poorest of the poor”, his example led many to join the Franciscan Order that he founded, and to this day he is known as one of the greatest of God’s saints. Mother Teresa was known as the “living saint” because of her works of charity for the sick and poor, which attracted thousands of women to join her order, the Missionaries of Charity.

St. Paul understood so well the meaning of being a “fool for Christ”. He said, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor 1:18) He also said, “We are fools on Christ’s account… we go hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clad and roughly treated, we wander about homeless, and we toil, working with our own hands. When ridiculed, we bless, when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we respond gently.” (1 Cor.4:10a,11-13). In all his travels spreading the Gospel, he suffered the most, having been stoned, imprisoned, whipped, shipwrecked, and mobbed by his enemies.

Yes, it is not easy to be a “fool for Christ” in His ministry. We will experience the doubts, or even ridicule of our own friends and relatives when we speak out for the Lord, especially if we are new members or converts into the renewal. But with a little patience, we can learn this “secret of the saints” by reading about their lives, and by constant exposure to God’s Word in Scriptures. It will also help us understand why there are some people who devote their lives in serving and caring for the less fortunate in life, the poor, the sick, and the dying. They all do it simply for the love of Jesus. They say that when one is in love he or she becomes “crazy”, or “goes nuts” over the object of one’s love. Isn’t that how we should feel when we fall in love with Jesus?

Lord God, we have been called fools for believing in the Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, for our devotion to the Blessed Mother, and for “taking up our cross”. But we embrace as truth the words of the great Archbishop Fulton Sheen, who said that to be a Fool for Christ is the greatest compliment that the world can give. Amen.

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